EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EDT, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20, 2013
BEA 13-10
TRAVEL AND TOURISM SPENDING TURNED UP IN THE FOURTH QUARTER OF 2012

Real spending on travel and tourism turned up in the fourth quarter of 2012, increasing at an annual rate of 1.8 percent after decreasing 0.7 percent (revised) in the third quarter. By comparison, growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 0.1 percent (second estimate) in the fourth quarter of 2012 after increasing 3.1 percent in the third quarter. For the year, real spending on travel and tourism increased 2.7 percent in 2012 after increasing 3.2 percent in 2011. By comparison, real GDP increased 2.2 percent in 2012 after increasing 1.8 percent in 2011.

The leading contributors to the increase in the fourth quarter were “traveler accommodations” and “food services and drinking places,” which increased 9.4 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively. Partially offsetting these increases was a 3.7 percent decline in “all other transportation-related commodities,” and a 3.2 percent decline in “passenger air transportation.” The leading contributors to the decline within “all other transportation-related commodities” were “gasoline” and “automotive rental and leasing.”

Overall growth in prices for travel and tourism goods and services turned up in the fourth quarter of 2012, increasing 2.3 percent following a 0.4 percent (revised) decrease in the third quarter. The fourth quarter upturn reflected an upturn in passenger air transportation prices and a smaller decrease in traveler accommodations prices. For the year, prices for travel and tourism increased 2.6 percent in 2012 after increasing 5.1 percent in 2011.

Chart 1. Quarterly Growth in Real Tourism Spending

Employment in the travel and tourism industries increased 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 after increasing 1.3 percent (revised) in the third quarter. By comparison, overall U.S. employment increased 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter after increasing 1.2 percent in the third quarter. For the year, employment in the travel and tourism industries increased 2.2 percent in 2012 after increasing 1.8 percent in 2011. By comparison, overall U.S. employment increased 1.7 percent in 2012 after increasing 1.2 percent in 2011.

Chart 2. Quarterly Growth in Real Tourism Spending
Real Tourism Spending.  Real spending on “traveler accommodations” accelerated, increasing 9.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 after increasing 5.3 percent in the third quarter. Despite a hurricane in the fourth quarter, which closed many hotels in the Northeast, overall occupancy rates accelerated. Real spending on “food services and drinking places” also accelerated, increasing 8.6 percent in the fourth quarter after increasing 0.6 percent in the third quarter.
Chart 3. Quarterly Growth in Tourism Prices
Tourism Prices.  Prices for “passenger air transportation” turned up, increasing 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter after decreasing 11.5 percent in the third quarter.  Airline load factors (an indicator of capacity utilization) remained high as spending from both leisure and business travelers improved.  Prices for “traveler accommodations” decreased 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter after decreasing 8.2 percent in the third quarter.
Chart 4. Quarterly Growth in Tourism Employment
Tourism Employment.  Employment in the travel and tourism industries decelerated in the fourth quarter, increasing 0.4 percent after increasing 1.3 percent in the third quarter. The deceleration was more than accounted for by a downturn in “food services and drinking places.”

Total Tourism-Related Spending  in the U.S. includes the goods and services that are purchased directly by tourists and also a portion of the goods and services produced by the supply chain that supports tourism activity; for example, a firm that supplies linens to hotels and restaurants.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, total current-dollar tourism-related spending was $1.5 trillion and consisted of $865.3 billion (60 percent) of direct tourism spending — goods and services sold directly to visitors — and $589.1 billion (40 percent) of indirect tourism-related spending — goods and services used to produce what visitors purchase.

Total Tourism-Related Employment  was 7.7 million jobs in the fourth quarter of 2012 and consisted of 5.5 million (71 percent) direct tourism jobs — jobs where workers produce goods and services sold directly to visitors — and 2.2 million (29 percent) indirect tourism-related jobs — jobs where workers produce goods and services used to produce what visitors purchase.

Definitions

Tourism spending.   Tourism spending comprises all goods and services purchased by tourists (defined as people who travel for any reason). In the following tables, tourism spending is referred to as direct tourism output.

Indirect tourism-related spending.   Indirect tourism-related spending comprises all output used as inputs in the process of producing direct tourism output (e.g., toiletries for hotel guests and the plastic used to produce souvenir key chains).

Total tourism-related spending.  Total tourism-related spending is the sum of direct tourism spending and indirect tourism-related spending.

Direct tourism employment.  Direct tourism employment comprises all jobs where the workers are engaged in the production of direct tourism output (such as hotel staff, airline pilots, and souvenir sellers).

Indirect tourism-related employment.   Indirect tourism-related employment comprises all jobs where the workers are engaged in the production of indirect tourism-related output (e.g., employees of companies that produce toiletries for hotel guests and the plastic used to produce souvenir key chains).

Total tourism-related employment.  Total tourism-related employment is the sum of direct tourism employment and indirect tourism-related employment.

These statistics are from BEA’s Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts (TTSAs), which are supported by funding from the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The current-price statistics of direct tourism output were derived from BEA’s annual TTSAs and from current-price quarterly statistics of personal consumption expenditures from the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs). The real statistics of direct tourism output were developed using price indexes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and real quarterly statistics of personal consumption expenditures from the NIPAs. The statistics of direct tourism employment were derived from the annual TTSAs (revised in June 2012) from BEA, the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), and Current Employment Statistics (CES) from BLS.

Quarterly statistics are seasonally adjusted and expressed at annual rates, unless otherwise specified. Percent changes are calculated from unrounded data and annualized. Real values are in chained (2005) dollars. Price indexes are Fisher chain-type measures. Growth in overall U.S. employment is calculated using BLS total nonfarm employment from Current Employment Statistics, www.bls.gov/ces/home.htm#data.

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Next release – Travel and Tourism statistics for first quarter 2013 will be released on Monday, June 24, 2013 at 8:30 A.M. EDT.

BEA’s national, international, regional, and industry statistics; the Survey of Current Business; and BEA news releases are available without charge on BEA’s Web site at www.bea.gov.  By visiting the site, you can also subscribe to receive free e-mail summaries of BEA releases and announcements.